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Guest Post: Bhargava Gade and Varun Agarrwal, Aspiring Minds, Delhi, India
Why are millions of students taking courses on edx?
(Let us call everyone students irrespective of whether they are in college, school or working since we are all here to learn). We can view it from two different lenses – we are here to learn, or we are here to equip ourselves with skills needed for brighter career prospects. I’m confident many of you would agree with me when I say “the process of learning comes full circle with a job”.
Now that we all are in agreement (I hope we are) that we want to learn and at the same time equip ourselves with skills that would propel our careers forward, how do we plan to make ourselves accessible to corporations? How do corporations know if we actually learned something from the MOOC courses we enrolled for? Did we acquire the skills that they are looking for? I, as a MOOC learner, would definitely want answers to these questions.
We, at Aspiring Minds, decided to take the first initiative to connect MOOC-takers with jobs by doing a partnership with edX.
As part of an experiment, we asked edX’s Indian learners (second largest population for edX) to opt-in to register on Aspiring Minds’ platform to get job opportunities. A large number of learners registered for this. Our team started working on making these students accessible to corporations who are currently hiring.
We are pleased to report that our first student among this group got a job last week. The student is in the final year of his computer engineering in the state of Rajasthan in India. His campus does not have a good placement record with 60-70% percentage students being without a job. India has more than 3000 engineering colleges, and companies hire from the top 20% most of the time. This student got to know about edX from the Internet and took the course, “Introduction to Computer Science and Programming” among three others. Once, he shared his profile with us, he went through a test and the recruitment process of a subsidiary of a US-based software company with an office in Rajasthan. After the interview, he was offered the job of a Software trainee, to be promoted to iOS developer or PHP developer after the training period.
This first example is encouraging, and it demonstrates how committed MOOC learners, even those with limited job opportunities, can be connected to employers. This is a first step in achieving the vision of an ideal education-employment ecosystem through MOOCs and we look forward to learning a lot more from this experiment in the next 3-6 months.
Varun Aggarwal is currently the CTO and COO at Aspiring Minds. Apart from leading delivery and operations, Varun specifically looks after product design, research and new initiatives.